Illinois State Senator Barack Obama is elected to the United States Senate, becoming only the fifth African American to serve in the U.S. Senate.
President Ronald Reagan signs a bill designating January 15th an official federal holiday for slain Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Charles C. Diggs became Michigan's first Black Congressman on this date when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Diggs went on to help found the Congressional Black Caucus and acted as its first chairman.
Medical school founder and former acting President Dr. Louis Sullivan is born in Atlanta, Georgia.